Church Requirements

NB: Please read as well updated Church Requirements post here.

Getting married in the Church here in the Philippines certainly just doesn’t only involve getting a priest to bless your marriage – although I think it would mean more meaningful that way. It doesn’t only involve gathering around and saying our prayers and asking (and receiving) the blessing. How I so wish it’s as easy as that! But no, there are a lot of bureaucracies involved and we have to comply with it all so that we will be allowed to get married in the Church.

Normally, for couples who are both Filipinos and are both Catholics and haven’t been married yet, below are the documents you need to submit to the Church and the process you need to go through:

  1. Marriage License – can be obtained from the municipal hall of either the bride or groom
  2. New Copy of Baptismal Certificate – secured from the Parish where the person received the Sacrament of Baptism and annotated with “For Marriage Purposes”. Must be requested no longer than 6 months before the wedding.
  3. New Copy of Confirmation Certificate – secured from the Parish where the person received the Sacrament of Confirmation and annotated with “For Marriage Purposes”. Must be requested no longer than 6 months before the wedding. I had Mama request for Items 2 and 3.
  4. Name/License No. of Officiating Priest
  5. Name of Sponsors
  6. Certificate of Freedom to Marry – for those who stayed abroad for more than 6 months
  7. Wallet size picture
  8. Pre-cana seminar – For Caleruega weddings, the pre-cana seminar can be taken from any parish anywhere in the Philippines. The couple just need to secure a certificate of attendance. This may not hold true for other Churches though.
  9. Wedding Banns
  10. Canonical Interviews

Once you have Items 1 ~ 7, submit the documents to the Chancery (in our case Lipa Chancery). Lipa Chancery will then issue us a letter of endorsement for Xavier Parish (parish incharge of Caleruega). Xavier Parish will then issue the letter for the request of the publication of wedding banns. The wedding banns need to be published in the couple’s hometown or place of current residence for 3 consecutive Sundays.

Once done with Items 8 and 9, a copy of the signed publication of the wedding banns and the certificate of attendance in the pre-cana seminar has to be presented to the church you’re marrying in to have a schedule for the Canonical interview which shall be conducted by the parish priest of the Church you are marrying in. For our case, Xavier Parish (in behalf of Caleruega) will only schedule us for canonical interview after we’ve had the pre-cana seminar.   

It doesn’t end with the Canonical Interview. After the Canonical interview, the (1) signed publication of Wedding banns, (2) certificate of attendance in pre-cana seminar and (3) result ot canonical interview has to be submitted to the Chancery Office. Depending on results of the Canonical interview, the Chancery may schedule the couple for an interview with the Canon Lawyer.

Once done with the Chancery, the couple has to wait for a 3-day processing period before the couple can receive the signed Clearance from the Chancery Office together with all the original documents submitted (NB: couple must make sure to secure photocopies of all the original documents you submitted just in case such documents might be asked for by other entities). Once all documents has been received from the Chancery, the couple must then submit all the documents to the Church the couple is marrying in. Done.

BUT oh! Didn’t I say above process is only for couples who are both Filipinos and are both Catholics and haven’t been married yet? Yes, even when you’re civilly married, it still doesn’t save you from needing to submit the documents required by the Church. More so, it still doesn’t save you from needing to undergo seminars. Hence the only requirement we need not submit in above list is Item 1.

Our case is a little extra special. We have been civilly married already and my groom is a non-practicing Christian and of a different nationality with Nihongo as a national language (to which it follows that all documents issued by his government is in Nihongo). Hence as expected, we have to submit ADDITIONAL requirements on top of those listed above.

  1. Marriage Contract – true, we eliminated Item 1 in above list but then it got replaced with this. Our Marriage Contract is in Japanese hence it has to be translated first. The Japanese priest who usually helps Japanese nationals with their marriages here in Philippines recently died last August. At the moment, they haven’t found any replacement for his post hence the Chancery can’t advise us yet their accredited translator. At the moment though, they would accept Hubbie’s translation (whew! yey!). We need to provide the official translation from the accredited agency later, though.
  2. Copy of my CENOMAR (certificate of no marriage) – the one used during your application for civil marriage. For my case, the Philippine embassy in Tokyo required it be authenticated by the DFA here hence my CENOMAR has got a DFA red-ribbon with it.
  3. Groom’s Certificate of Singleness – the one used during application for civil marriage. For our case, this is Hubbie’s Koseki Tohon (Family Register).Thankfully, the Phil. embassy required us to pay for the translation of this and also gave us the original copy after our CNO application so I already have this.
  4. Certificate of Freedom to Marry for the Groom – this is a letter or certificate signed by the groom’s pastor that says that the pastor knows that the groom is free to marry, and has no record of previous marriage in his church. Yes, even when we’re already married, they still requested for this since, as they say, “in the eyes of the church, we’re still not married”.  This got me scratching my head. Aren’t government papers enough? Anyways, since Hubbie is non-practicing Christian, Item 3 will have to suffice (thankfully!!).
  5. Photocopy of the Groom’s passport

Depending on Fr. Nishimoto’s replacement, there may be additional requirements on top of above 5 requirements.

 Quite a tall order eh? In any case, as it is said, when you’ve worked really hard to get something, then that something will be of more value to you once you have it. Getting past the obstacle will make a sweet victory. Gambatte to us Hubbie! =)

————

2 hours after:

Thanks to Erika, my question on why our processing is more complicated than usual was answered. To quote her:

The Clearance at the Chancery Office is only required for couples where one of the marrying party is either of the following:
1. Non-Filipino citizens
2. Filipino citizens who have lived abroad for more than 6 years
3. Non-catholic individuals
4. Individuals who were previously married and whose marriage was dissolved

Otherwise, if you are both single, Filipino and Catholic, there is no need to seek clearance at the Chancery Office. All requirements will be processed by the parish where the marriage will take place – or in your case, the parish who handles the Chapel.

Thanks Erika! =)

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Chancery and Canonical Interviews « On Chocolate Hill
  2. Aries
    Apr 22, 2011 @ 10:27:57

    OMG this is so helpful. I’m really praying that everything you’ve planned for in your wedding will be realized. You’ve helped a lot of people with your blogsite!!!

    Take care and enjoy your big day !!!

    Reply

    • atsushiandmarjorie
      Apr 22, 2011 @ 12:26:29

      Thank you Aries! I am very glad to know that our blogsite is proving to be very helpful. 🙂 And thank you for your prayers. We dearly pray as well that we’ll have our dream wedding realized as planned. 🙂 God bless!

      Reply

  3. NK
    Aug 22, 2017 @ 21:21:52

    Hi, my fiance and I are planning to have our wedding held at Caleruega Church. He is Filipino Catholic and I’m Vietnamese Buddhist, both are living in Australia for the past 10 years. Do you know what are the requirements if I don’t want to convert?

    Reply

Thanks for the comment! :)

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